I’m kind of an applique snob. I’ve tried just about every method known to man and have come to the conclusion that, in my humble opinion, to create heirloom applique you should use the spray starch method and stitch the edges under with teeny tiny stitches in a neutral colored silk thread so they will be practically invisible.
But let’s be honest, not all quilts are heirlooms. Some quilts will serve as table runners and will get beer, ketchup and milk spilled on them. Others will be given as gifts to people who may or may not know the proper way to care for them or, let’s be honest, even appreciate the quilt. Baby quilts will be cherished, but they also will be pooped, puked and peed on.
In cases when your quilt is going to take some abuse, I have no problem using fusible web to create my applique. That’s what I used to create this sock monkey block in a commissioned quilt I’m working on now. The client sent me a few images of other sock monkey quilts she liked and an appliqued sock monkey was among them. So I’m recreating the look for her.
It took me about an hour to make the templates, trace them on the paper side of the fusible web, apply it to the back side of the fabric, cut out the shapes, fuse them in place and stitch them down. If I would have tried to do this by hand I wouldn’t even have half of the monkey together right now. Considering I have four more monkeys to go, I think fusible web for applique was a good choice on this quilt.
And for those of you who have tried fusible web, but didn’t like the stiffness it adds to the fabric, if you cut out the center of the fusible web before you apply it to the fabric so that the product will only be fused to the seam allowances, then the applique will be as flexible as if you sewed it by hand.